Firth Primary School gets the wheels turning on cycle track
The wheels are really starting to turn at Firth Primary School.
The school is almost ready to launch it's school cycle track, and are one of only three schools in the Waikato to have one as part of the Bikes in Schools Project.
They join schools in both Putaruru and Hamilton.
Principal James Eldridge says the idea came from an article in the New Zealand Education Gazette - Kotuku Korero - about the charitable trust Bike On's, Bikes in Schools Project.
The project was launched in New Zealand in 2010 and aims to help more New Zealanders experience the benefits of bicycle riding.
"A staff member spotted it thought it was pretty cool. We investigated the costs and got started on looking for funding," said Eldridge.
The school received grants from Trust Waikato and Sport Waikato, plus local contractors and businesses have jumped on board.
Eldridge said without any grants, the project would cost about $50,000.
Peter Jones Contractors and Wilson Sands have laid out the track and provided the sand base.
Eldridge says he contacted Swaps for a quote to supply and roll out the aggregate. He was surprised by the company's response.
"They just said they would take care of it. There were 13-14 truck loads. I can't sing their praises enough.
"We just cannot wait, we are just hopeful for continued sunshine, so Swaps can make finishing touches.
"The kids have been watching the trucks for a few weeks, everyone is very excited. We are looking forward to having a programme implemented to be able to use it."
Eldridge says he is hopeful a custom designed container, in school colours, 51 bikes and 200 helmets will be at the school by the end of November.
Matamata Cycles supplied the bikes of various sizes at cost price, and Firth Parent Group fronted the money for helmets, one for every child.
Matamata Cycles had also offered to service and maintain the bikes.
The school plans to use the bikes as part of their pre-existing exercise programme and Eldrige says there is also potential for the school to open it to the public.
"We used to do a tri-scoot-a-thon, of running, swimming and riding a scooter, so now we can do a proper school triathlon using the bikes and track instead."